Type 1 AGN at low z- I. Emission properties

Jonathan Stern*, Ari Laor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyse the emission properties of a new sample of 3579 type 1 AGN, selected from Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7 based on the detection of broad Hα emission. The sample extends over a broad Hα luminosity LbHα of and a broad Hα full width at half-maximum (FWHM) of 1000-25 000 km s-1, which covers the range of black hole mass 106 < MBH/M < 109.5 and luminosity in Eddington units 10-3 < L/LEdd < 1. We combine ROSAT, GALEX and 2MASS observations to form the spectral energy distribution (SED) from 2.2 m to 2 keV. We find the following. (1) The distribution of the Hα FWHM values is independent of luminosity. (2) The observed mean optical-ultraviolet (optical-UV) SED is well matched by a fixed-shape SED of luminous quasars, which scales linearly with LbHα, and a host galaxy contribution. (3) The host galaxy r-band (fibre) luminosity function follows well the luminosity function of inactive non-emission-line galaxies (NEGs), consistent with a fixed fraction of ∼3 percent of NEGs hosting an AGN, regardless of the host luminosity. (4) The hosts of lower luminosity AGN have a mean z-band luminosity and u-z colour which are identical to NEGs with the same redshift distribution. With increasing LbHα the AGN hosts become bluer and less luminous than NEGs. The implied increasing star formation rate with LbHα is consistent with the relation for SDSS type 2 AGN of similar bolometric luminosity. (5) The optical-UV SED of the more luminous AGN shows a small dispersion, consistent with dust reddening of a blue SED, as expected for thermal thin accretion disc emission. (6) There is a rather tight relation between and LbHα, which provides a useful probe for unobscured (true) type 2 AGN. (7) The primary parameter that drives the X-ray to UV emission ratio is luminosity, rather than MBH or L/LEdd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-631
Number of pages32
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Quasars: emission lines
  • Quasars: general


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